Wheddon explores their friendship in vivid detail, from their knowledge, that probably served as a spur and as an encouragement in drafting her Juvenilia, passing by her novels and everyday's life, made by small and larger purchases, jokes on common acquaintances, the aforementioned recipes, but also the care of the elderly and the infirms and the Christian faith that characterized Martha and that was for Jane and all the Austen family a further bond with her.
A very interesting study through which we can re-read Jane Austen's works from a different perspective, maybe catching new details on her characters and her plots, supported by the knowledge of this paramount figure in Jane's life.
Georgiana 1792, NetGalley Reviewer
Friendship, beautiful and pure friendship is the main subject of this book. The author discusses what being a best friend really means, one you can share every bit of your life with, hysterical laughter which no one else understands to knowing how to help through sorrow to trust to discussing topics openly without judgement. Jane and Martha had a long and spectacularly close friendship, though Martha was ten years older than Jane. It made no difference whatsoever in their relationship. I have had the pleasure to visit Jane Austen territory and this book confirmed what I thought (and hoped!) of Jane's personality, thankfully, and gave me insight into Martha and her relationship with Jane.
When the two were separated geographically, their friendship grew even deeper. They visited whenever possible and eventually did live with Jane's family after Mr. Austen's death. Martha wasn't an intrusion whatsoever but her stalwart Christian beliefs, lovely personality, kindness and practical side endeared her to everyone. Cassandra and Jane's sister relationship was as close as can be and with Martha had a very tight bond. Martha's encouragement, comfort, ease of laughter and peacefulness contributed to Jane's writing. I did not realize her profound impact! They stuck together through everything, absolutely everything. They both loved many of the same things such as walking, fashion, dancing, nature and chatting but did have differences which meant they maintained their independence. The author goes on to describe both of their lives and those around them, the joys and the pains.
What resonates with me most is the depth of this precious friendship. It's breathtaking. The photographs are interesting, too.
Jane Austen fans will happily devour this different slant of information about our beloved author and dear Martha. We get glimpses into the daily lives of this devoted pair. If you are new to Jane Austen, you will surely enjoy this as well!
Brenda, NetGalley Reviewer
Who doesn't like Jane Austen and don't want to learn more about her life and what or who inspired her in her daily life for her writing?
I have watched many documentaries about J.A but her relationship with Martha Lloyd was absent. This book made me discover more about Jane, her character and how much she valued a real good friendship. I have to be honest, I had no idea about who was Martha to Jane. I always believed that her best friend was her sister Cassandra. Through my reading of this book, I discovered Martha and I learnt more about Jane Austen's personality and how she really was in her life. It wasn't that sad maiden who suffered an heartbreak in her prime youth which led to her grief in finding love and to have a second chance or her continual fight for a stable financial life like many portrayed her.
Misa, NetGalley Reviewer
,Jane Austen’s Best friend: The Life & Influence of Martha Lloyd, is a biographical memoir of Martha Lloyd, penned down by the author Zöe P Wheddon. Author Zöe Wheddon has recollected the life of Marth Lloyd and her friendship with Jane Austen after extensive research of archives, meeting people, visiting places, and taking a note of every trace of information available about them. This recollection is curated & crafted into an intimate memoir of a special friendship between a 13-year old Jane and a 23-year old Martha which grew deeper over the decades of their lives.
An unusual bond of friendship bloomed in the study chambers of the Austen family when Martha Lloyd, daughter of Revered Noyes of Bishopstone and Mrs. Martha Crave came to live in Dean Parsonage, after the demise of her father. Martha Lloyd, who met an unkind fate at a young age, was soon smitten by the creativity and artistic taste of the Austen family. But for Jane, who was known for her intellectual curiosity, wit and burlesque mannerism, it was not enough to have a good taste to become ‘the friend and sister under every circumstances’. Martha’s rationality, intellect, good humour and opinionated personality interested Jane, and it didn’t take long for these two to become acquaintances and then close friends.
Shelleyreviews, NetGalley Reviewer
All fans of Jane Austen everywhere believe themselves to be best friends with the beloved author and this book shines a light on what it meant to be exactly that. Jane Austen’s Best Friend; The Life and Influence of Martha Lloyd offers a unique insight into Jane’s private inner circle. Through this heart-warming examination of an important and often overlooked person in Jane’s world, we uncover the life-changing force of their friendship.
Each chapter details the fascinating facts and friendship forming qualities that tied Jane and Martha together. Within these pages, we will relive their shared interests, the hits and misses of their romantic love lives, their passion for shopping and fashion, their family histories, their lucky breaks and their girly chats. This book offers a behind the scenes tour of the shared lives of a fascinating pair and the chance to deepen our own bonds in ‘love and friendship’ with them both.
I simply adore Jane Austen and all the books based on her or about her and this book did not disappoint - I had read little about Martha before this book but was fascinated to see her influence on Jane.... oh, if Jane had only lived longer and given us more novels. Definitely for Jane fans and book club alike.
Janet, NetGalley Reviewer
As a huge fan of Jane Austen this book was right up my alley. It was a beautiful read that touched my heart and seeing friendships blossom. It was your typical, cute, classic love story between friends. It honestly was good to read something so uplifting that made me smile and feel cosy.
Sambooka23, NetGalley Reviewer
It's an enjoyable book for any Janeite out there. It's well written and you can start and finish it without even realizing it. I really enjoyed reading about the friendship of this two Regency women, as well as the in depth information provided.
Juli, NetGalley Reviewer
Becky, xvFirst sentence: It is also a truth universally acknowledged that a woman in possession of a great talent must be in want of a brilliant best friend and Jane Austen was no exception. She may even have appreciated that friend more than we will ever know. That is to say she enjoyed the delights of having someone in her life who would become one of her closest and dearest, nay even beloved people, but was not bound to her by the calls of family duty or a father’s will.
Premise/plot: Jane Austen's Best Friend is a biography of Martha Lloyd that focuses on the friendship between Jane and Martha. The two were close, as close as sisters. Their friendship spanned decades. Jane was around twelve years old when the two met. This perspective gives readers an inside glimpse of Jane's personality. Wheddon writes, "Through tracing the tale of Martha and Jane, we will get to see the human side of our heroine author and really feel like we can get to know her better. In looking back somewhat longingly at Martha and Jane’s friendship we can examine all their shared interests, including the hits and misses of their romantic love lives, their passion for shopping and fashion, their connection to their community and the female biography of the period, their family histories, their lucky breaks, their epic fails and their girly chats. In this way, it is my aim for us to ‘recover a personal Jane Austen’, to allow us the opportunity to spend time in a ‘plausible emotional and psychological hinterland’, to create something like our own time-travelling coffee shop, wherein Jane Austen is revealed to us in a different context, in a different light, through the prism of the magical link of friendship."
My thoughts: This book was a good fit for me!!! I really love reading Austen and reading about Austen. I would recommend this one to anyone with similar taste. Love reading Austen's novels? Love reading about Jane Austen? Love the Georgian/Regency time period? Love history? This one may be for you.
Becky, NetGalley Reviewer
I am a lifelong fan of a Jane Austen and have read extensively on her life. This book was intriguing, I’ve read a lot about Jane and Martha’s friendship and was very keen to read this. The good points for me were that the writer’s research was meticulous, and the love she has for her subject clearly shines through.
Rebecca, NetGalley Review
I will pretty much read anything that relates to Jane Austen.This is a very quick, but very informative read that gives a new lens to Austen’s works. Definitely one to check out if you’re a lover of all things Austen!
Joy, NetGalley Review
Jane loved Martha and made her life much more interesting. Martha also played an important role in Jane's life as an authoress. We learn that in Jane's life love came really after friendship and family. This book was about how a true friend can have an impact on your life and your dreams. Some people live their whole life through and never find a friend like Martha or Jane.
Martha was Jane's BFF as we call it today and vice versa but they weren't always glued to each other, each one respected the privacy, interests and tastes of the other. Martha had a scientific mind with her love for plants and animals. We learn about her well-known recipe for ink which was a real gift for a friend who was an author.
At the end, Martha's life had a beautiful happy ending like the heroines of her best friend's books. Jane, before she died, tried to help in the fulfilment of a second chance in happiness for her best friend with her brother.
This book was a work of research and hard work. I loved it and I respect the author's efforts. Thank you for this beautiful story about a true friendship.
Michelle Kidwell, NetGalley Reviewer